1. You are a Milanese artist who defines himself as historically more oriented towards the underground circles of the Plastic club and the After Dark in Viale Certosa, rather than the elegant salons of the uptown “Quadrilatero”. Do you miss anything from the nineties, when people demanded freedom of expression? What has changed compared to the social battles we are experiencing today? If you were to write a page in a diary, what reflections would you note down?
I see you read my interviews! In my diary I would note “CONTRADICTIONS”. Much has changed, but too slowly, as if it were difficult to bury a past that cannot forget itself. Italy is bound to its traditions and history, which prevent it from taking note of a reality other than dusty postcards. It is enough to look around at the aperitif in Porta Venezia to see that in the younger generations the idea of fluidity is solidly acquired, without being equally protected.
2. Who are the people, or the characters, who have contributed most to shaping your creative world?
They are not physical people, they are more aesthetics or types of imagery or atmospheres taken from all areas. I can’t pinpoint specific ones because I fall in love with them to the point of vomiting and then I can’t stand them any more. I proceed “by exhaustion.”
PASTICHE 2020 | @officinesaffi @fabrizio_meris
3. In your productions you use colour (and materials) to delimit spaces. How does your research into colour take place? Do you follow a specific creative process? What symbology do you associate with colours?
I am not interested in colours (in themselves). What interests me is that they are ritual or symbolic. I like them to have a relationship determined by others and not by me. In my pictorial works I ask categories of people to choose colours and materials that will compose them. I have never been interested in constructing a balance, it would not represent me!
4. Another irreplaceable ally of yours is geometry: (multicoloured) rhombuses allow you to reorder chaos. Where does this trait of yours come from? Have you ever perceived it as a limitation? What is the relationship between order and chaos in your private life?
Why reorder chaos? Chaos, in the laws of entropy, is the maximum configuration of order. I am sometimes very disordered, or very ordered… One dimension is, after all, the consequence of the other.
5. What period of your artistic life are you in? What themes are you exploring?
In 2022 I will have a solo exhibition with @apalazzogallery, a gallery that has represented my work for several years… It will be apocalyptic and demonic, perhaps! It’s a great time and I’m happy to be working a lot.
6. Contemporary society is moving towards an increasingly digital dimension, while your art has a distinctly analogue flavour, thanks also to the incessant physical manipulation of materials and manual experimentation. Where does your passion for the analogue dimension come from? What is the role of digital technology in your life?
What an interesting question… Perhaps it is precisely when an element (such as digitalisation) becomes so basic and widespread that it is within everyone’s reach, that research, formalisation and content must take a more radical, more prehistoric, more brutal direction… In my private life, the digital and I live in two different worlds.
“I hardly ever read emails, I don’t have a PC, I have a tablet that I use mainly for pornography; I do everything from my phone (even the answers in this interview), I could make NFTs [Non-fungible tokens] by putting them on the same level as an oil painting on parchment.”
I don’t think there are any hierarchies of temporal meaning… A work is mysteriously topical in spite of the media that carries it.
7. In your work, you came across the (almost investigative) investigation into Piranesi, the eclectic 18th-century artist (between Baroque and Neoclassicism) who associated the figure of the artist with that of an all-round creator: at times architect, archaeologist, antiquarian, documentarian, designer, merchant, impresario. If you were to define yourself, what roles would you play? Which ones do you feel most comfortable in?
I like the Piranesi’s concept of cultural appropriation, nomadism and postmodernism. An aspect of pre-globalisation that is a little bit cocky and a little bit Legoland, which, by mixing historical pieces and contemporary additions, creates a third dimension that is dreamlike and commercial at the same time.
8. With regard to “Pastiche”, one of your latest exhibitions, you say that it is about “cultural nomadism”, i.e. a melting-pot of backgrounds, historical periods and cultures. Applying this concept to contemporary society, what are the biggest challenges we are experiencing? Which ones do you, as an artist, feel viscerally the strongest?
I would imagine giving this answer in a Harlequin costume, like De Chirico in a senile video in which he chatted amiably about his work wearing an anachronistic costume, I think inspired by the eighteenth century, or Gino De Dominicis who was filmed by Mediaset while being interviewed while sitting at a table floating a few metres off the ground… I don’t look for immediate responses to current events. The present is perennial and without memory.
9. Are there other areas of design in which you would like to apply yourself? If you were not an artist, what creative fields would you like to work in?
Ideally chemistry, or I would like to become an astronaut. As a child, I would have liked to be a veterinarian, as I liked sheep.
10. What is one object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory attached to it? Can you send us a photo of it?
I have recently re-evaluated my idea of possession. I have been accumulating things in a small house for years… I am not a compulsive hoarder, but a “collector” of things I considered special. Now I prefer to own a few, the others I am selling or giving away. What I can’t give up are the memories of people or situations… There is for example a huge Raf Simons sweatshirt, beige with a reproduction of a New Order cover attached, that I have had for 20 years… I wore it when my nose was broken with a headbutt at the Glitter club and when I fell off a ladder while setting up a sculpture… It is linked to a sad period in my life, and evidently carries a strange karma.